Minnesota and camping go hand-in-hand. As you venture out looking for the next place to call 'home' for the weekend, be sure and consider these few things before booking.

I've camped all my life, both in tents and with an RV. From family campgrounds, to music festivals and everything in between. The experience can be amazing, or it can feel like a disaster. I hope some things I've learned along the way helps make your next adventure a positive experience!

This weekend my wife and I took off on an RV camping trip. It was her first experience camping in an RV, and had been a while for me. We stayed within 20 minutes of our house, just in case we forgot anything major that we had to go back for. Although we realized our sewer hose was missing (on our way out), we only made 2 trips to Target to pickup a couple things we forgot.

Book campgrounds early
Nearly every reputable campground sells out every weekend. You need to plan and book as early as possible. Don't put it off and have to chance being called back from a waiting list. Chances are you won't get the best campsite available.

Check Google campground reviews
Camping is all about having an enjoyable and relaxing time with friends and family. There's nothing worse than getting all setup and quickly realizing you aren't going to have fun because of unfriendly staff, terrible campground maintenance, and amenities that aren't what they said they were. A Google search for the campground you're considering is a quick way to get an idea what your experience will be like. I can tell you that we checked out a certain central Minnesota campground that sounded like it would be fun, but after checking their many negative Google reviews, it was clear that we wouldn't ever camp there.

Make a list and pack for every occasion
From clothing, to food, to games...bring what will help ensure that you and your family will enjoy themselves. Don't bank on just bringing swimming toys. If it turns into a rainy weekend, you need to make sure there's plenty to entertain with when things don't go as planned. Board games, DVD movies, and art projects are great to help pass the time when you're stuck inside. If it's nice outside, bring your bean bag game or bocce ball. You may never use them at home, but they'll be a big hit on a camping trip.

Tent Camping

Finally, have fun the entire time
I wanted to point this out as many times people forget that you're trying to make great family memories and have a fun weekend together. Let the kids enjoy themselves, but make sure they're safe. If something doesn't go exactly as planned, don't let it get to you and just keep it positive. When it's time to pack up after a long weekend, keep it fun and remember that everybody is tired and wants to get home. Yelling and getting frustrated isn't going to make anybody remember the fun from the entire weekend - they'll remember that Dad (or Mom) was mean to camp with. keep it fun all the way through.

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